How Far Can You Chuck That Pumpkin?

Mrs. GV and her students discuss their exciting trebuchet project


Logan O'Connor

Ty Martin gets excited over his trebuchet's success

Logan O'Connor, Junior Writer

Move over baking soda volcano, pumpkin-launching trebuchets are the new school project in town. Reedy High School’s AP Physics C classes have recently constructed pumpkin launching devices for the sake of science, and had a little fun while they were at it. Students joined together in groups of four to have some friendly competition by building trebuchets up to 6 feet tall.

Logan O’Connor
One student prepares to launch his trebuchet

This is Reedy High’s second year completing a trebuchet project, and it is one that the AP Physics C teacher, Mrs.Gonzalez-Vega, looks forward to.

“Kids sign up for AP Physics C just for the trebuchet,” GV said. “These students pour a good 30 hours into this project.”

With the amount of time and hard work put into the build, it is no surprise that many students take so much pride in their creations.

“We spent about 32 work hours on it, and it can throw past 30 meters,” senior Jakob Swilley says.

Fellow group member Abhishek Sule elaborates on the design, pointing out that it is “reinforced with metal, because [they] had too much weight on the arm prior.” With devices requiring such a sturdy frame, pumpkins can be launched a considerable distance.

“One year we had students launch their pumpkin 75 yards,” GV said.

With pumpkins being tossed almost the length of a football field, one may wonder how much money is spent on such intricate trebuchets.

Logan O’Connor
Santiago Serdan fires his trebuchet

“One year we had a student who went all out,” GV said. “He spent around 300 dollars on his trebuchet.” GV explains that this is an extreme example, but it really goes to show how much the student are willing to put forth for a good pumpkin toss.

This project can correlate to some senior’s interest in colleges and potential majors because of the amount of time and research put into a hands-on assignment.

When asked if the project can establish any link between building a good trebuchet and getting into a good college, GV replies that, “The project goes back into engineering and the whole engineering process,” GV said. “One of the students last year is actually at MIT this year.”

Although the project may not determine exactly what college a student gets into, it is obvious that the effort students put into their pumpkin chunker says a lot about their work ethic and motivation to succeed.